Things You Can’t See
I’ve spent years writing about Collies on many subjects. My writings were from the point of view of a conformation breeder, exhibitor, and judge so it followed that I described mostly what you can see. When describing what’s important it’s always been my aim to stress health and temperament as most important building blocks for any breeder. Without both of those basics you can’t have a really good dog. There is more to be enjoyed about any dog than physical attributes.
Albert Payson Terhune who did so much to make the Collie popular stressed what’s inside a dog as very important. Terhune knew what a good Collie conformation wise looked like, but valued what was inside above all. He wrote of loyalty, bravery, brains, and other things that don’t show as being hallmarks of the best Collies. These descriptions helped many, myself included, to want a Collie above all breeds. Now we know that some attributes that Terhune wrote about may stretch the imagination somewhat, but they sure sold Collies to the public.
If you know your breed’s history beyond dog shows you must know what the Collie was bred to do. Way back in the Collies’ history was a dog who herded sheep, guarded the shepherd’s home, and acted as playmate for is children, This was a trainable dog who took being associated with people naturally and loved children above all else. They had brains and loyalty which only showed in their actions not in appearance. Would that we humans valued such things more in our own species.
In my years of showing and breeding I had two dogs who were campaigned, both of whom went BB at the CC of A. Ch Jadene’s Breezalong has always stayed in my memory as the most correct Collie I ever showed. Ch. Gingeor’s Indelibly Blue was a very correct Collie as well but Breezy was better in my opinion. When it comes to hidden traits that make a dog good to live with, there was no comparison. Hair was hands down a fun dog to be around and Breezy was a somewhat aloof professional.
They had been raised somewhat differently and that may have affected the finished product. Breezy was whelped at my kennel, but left at six weeks to live with his breeder, Barbara Woodmancy. At about five months I got him back as Barbara was moving to Florida and didn’t want him to face the heat. He came back to me will trained, but had spent life as a kennel dog with minimal human contact since Barbara had a job as a nurse.
Hair on the other hand was whelped and raised at my kennel. He had three young boys to enjoy and was a real extrovert. When he went to a show he often watched TV with one of the boys while I visited friends. Breezy on the other hand would eat, go for a walk and take a nap. Neither dog had any trace of shyness and showed like pros when the time came. Which one do you think you’d rather live with as a dog to enjoy?
I hear a great deal about how the Collie has slipped down in registration rankings. There are many factors involved in this phenomenon. What’s on the inside of our dogs may be something to consider as much as beauty. The whole dog matters to the public when they shell out their money.
Think about it!
The dinosaur and wife, Phyllis, are facing a new challenge as I write this blog. Apparently cancer treatments can have some side effects that take time to show up in an aging body. We’ll give it our best shot and thank all our friends for their prayers and well wishes. Getting older isn’t much fun!